AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

A pragmatic linguistic approach to understanding dialogue in the play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

by Pernille Groth Thorsen

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2015
Keywords: play; linguistics; pragmatics
Record ID: 1122236
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/18382


This project takes its point of departure in Edward Albee’s play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? written in 1962. The interest in this subject departed from the shocking and tense experience the reading evoked in us. We wished to investigate how this was accomplished linguistically through the dialogue. By applying the theory of Conversation Analysis, Preference, and Paul Grice’s Conversational Maxims, an analysis will be made of eight chosen excerpts from the play. The analysis will be written with a pragmatic linguistic approach in order to determine which linguistic elements in the dialogue enable Edward Albee to create a sense of tension. After the analysis, the project will go into a discussion of the findings from the analysis of the excerpts. This will be done in order to determine if any recurring patterns can be found. In the end, a conclusion will tie together the findings from both the analysis and the discussion.